David Harsanyi on executive imperialism:
Enforce laws at your political leisure. Name recess appointments when there’s no recess. Legislate through regulation. Rewrite environmental laws. Rewrite immigration policy. Rewrite tax legislation. Bomb Libya. Bomb Syria. All by fiat. All good. The only question now is: what can’t Barack Obama do without Congress?
How about joining binding international agreements without the Senate’s consent? Also, good. The New York Times reports that Obama, who failed to pass sweeping domestic climate-change legislation in his first term, is “working to forge a sweeping international climate-change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.”
Compel? That’s ok. Just ask Jonathan Chait, who argues that there are a number of reasons why the Senate’s consent isn’t really necessary.
Read the whole thing.
One of the many, many problems with the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany is that they raised the bar on what we expect from tyrants — death camps, ethnic cleansing, global wars, etc. But the defining element of tyranny isn’t that it leads to death camps, although those are probably inevitable on a long enough time scale. The defining element of tyranny is that the law is arbitrary. It means what he says it means; he may act how he feels he may act.
It’s clear that Obama believes he is well within his rights and powers to act arbitrarily on any number of issues, with few checks or balances beyond what he thinks the public will let him get away with.
It’s also clear what that makes him.